“To you we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.”
That was historian Jim Miller borrowing a line from famous soldier poet John McCrae as he officially swore in and welcomed 48 new Canadians at the Western Development Museum Sunday.
The citizenship ceremony had added significance as it was held on Canada Day, a fact not lost on Akonasu Hungbo.
“I just want to go out there and get crazy,” Hungbo said when asked how he would mark his first day as a Canadian.
Ever since Hungbo arrived in Canada from Nigeria he has loved celebrating Canada Day. Ditching the title of international student and permanent resident to become a citizen was the best gift he could have asked for.
“Canada, I would say, is the best country in the world,” he said. “I’m very proud to be a Canadian today. I love the people and I just want to live the Canadian way — watching out for one another.”
That same excitement was shared by Shamim Mamun, adding that his celebrations will be that much sweeter after going through a long process to get to this point.
“I can’t put it in words how I’m feeling right now,” he said. “This has been a long process, but I appreciate every step because I earned it.”
He arrived in Canada in 2009 as a student and was hooked from the moment he landed. Working in the mining industry has allowed him to meet a variety of Canadians with a rich history. It’s just one of the many things he loves about his new home.
“Everything in Canada, I love it,” he said. “I like the people, I know how friendly they are.”
“Canada is the second largest country in the world and it’s full of national beauty.”
Unlike most people at the ceremony, Mamun was brave enough to share his love of Saskatchewan winters.
“It’s interesting, everybody complains about winter,” he said. “I never complain about winter. I like winter. Everything about Canada I like.”
Saskatoon’s newest Canadians came from 15 different countries. Miller ended the ceremony by encouraging everyone to celebrate their Canadian pride 151 years after the country’s confederation before saying these parting words.
“Congratulations to you all and welcome to the Canadian family,” he said. “Happy Canada Day.”